“Nothing is more timely than the establishment and operation of an observatory to provide analysis and to allow policy reforms to be based on evidence: evidence of failures and evidence of success”
Ruth Dreifuss, former President of the Swiss Confederation


National and international drug policies and programmes that privilege  harsh law enforcement and punishment in an effort to eliminate the cultivation, production, trade and use of controlled substances – what has become known as the ‘war on drugs’ – are coming under increased scrutiny. The Global Drug Policy Observatory aims to promote evidence and human rights based drug policy through the comprehensive and rigorous reporting, monitoring and analysis of policy developments at national and international levels. Acting as a platform from which to reach out to and engage with broad and diverse audiences, the initiative aims to help improve the sophistication and horizons of the current policy debate among the media and elite opinion formers as well as within law enforcement and policy making communities. The Observatory engages in a range of research activities that explore not only the dynamics and implications of existing and emerging policy issues, but also the processes behind policy shifts at various levels of governance.

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GDPO Quarterly News: October 2018 – January 2019


As part of an OSF Global Drug Policy Program funded research project that is examining the gendered impacts of drug policy enforcement, Julia organised a workshop in Accra, Ghana in October that brought together 15 experts from East and West Africa including from the prison service (Kenya), drug policy reform NGOs (Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia), harm reduction organisations (Senegal and Kenya), drug user organisations (Tanzania), and sex workers unions and support organisations...
To read more, and to see previous quarterly news reports, click here


GDPO Situation Analysis


GDPO Situation Analyses provide a broad range of drug policy stakeholders with concise, cutting-edge assessment of key topics, enabling informed engagement with pertinent developments and debates. Presented in a focused and standardised format, the SA flags risks, opportunities and future trends in crucial issue areas, delivering to readers actionable information and evidence based insight.
Click here to read all our Situation Analysis


GDPO's Featured Publication

White Drug Cultures and Regulation in London, 1916-1960
Stringer/Palgrave, 2018
Christopher Hallam

White Drug Cultures - Christopher HallamGDPO Research Associate Dr Chris Hallam's beautifully crafted monograph traces the history of the London 'white drugs' (opiate and cocaine) subculture from the First World War to the end of the classic 'British System' of drug prescribing in the 1960s. It also examines the regulatory forces that tried to suppress non-medical drug use, in both their medical and juridical forms. Drugs subcultures were previously thought to have begun as part of the post-war youth culture, but in fact they existed from at least the 1930s. In this book, two networks of drug users are explored, one emerging from the disaffected youth of the aristocracy, the other from the night-time economy of London's West End. Their drug use was caught up in a kind of dance whose steps represented cultural conflicts over identity and the modernism and Victorianism that coexisted in interwar Britain.

Click here to preview or buy on Amazon: White Drug Cultures and Regulation in London, 1916-1960